The Azure Striker Gunvolt series always featured these strong characters. Which makes sense, as so many of them are Adepts. They’re people who possess psychic septima powers that let them do extraordinary things. Copen, an ordinary Minos (human), always was exceptional too due to cybernetic enhancements. With Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2, we’re able to see even more so how capable and powerful he’s become.
The game begins with a familiar sort of set-up. Copen, Kohaku, and Lola are together. While Copen’s researching a weapon, they hear a voice calling for help. It pulls all three into another world. There, a robot named Null assists and asks for their aid. Together, the four head to the Grave Pillar to find a way home. It also means a chance to learn more about its world and the Gravekeeper robots that remain. It’s also, well, a chance to fight through all sorts of themed areas, acquiring new EX Weapons as he does. Which means, yet again, a very Mega Man sort of run-and-gun feel. You fight your way through spaces, hoping to do your best. As you do, you gradually get more powerful.
Copen isn’t as much as a ranged character as Gunvolt. He’s much more hands-on and visceral. Which you really feel with the Razor Wheel. It’s up close. It’s spinning. It’s sharp. You really have to get in and attack. Copen is powering through his attacks. It makes you feel like you’re pushing through areas, even if odds are overwhelming. Perhaps literally, considering one new move is the Recoil Dash. That’s a dash that pushes foes back. (It’s especially handy if an enemy is hogging platform space or hugging the edge near a gap.) When you head into Break-Shift, you’re even better at doing all of that. Overdrive kicks in and you can do more damage and increase your score more.
Does that sound like brute forcing your way is an option in Luminous Avenger iX 2. Well, it kind of is! Healing options are two-fold here. Lola remains a supportive muse. Her Anthem could kick in if you die and revive you. But you don’t have to get that far. Because she can use Healing Mode at any time. Press a button, select it, and Copen will be back at full health. Yes, it does bank your Kudos and put a stop to your momentum. But it’s quite a boon in terms of accessibility. An optional healing ability never hurts. Plus, it still works thematically, as Copen just can’t be stopped and keeps pushing through, with Lola attempting to keep up. (Also, if you do want a challenge, there is a hard mode with a life count you can unlock via finding bonus emblems.)
Not to mention the EX Weapons always feel satisfying. First, earning one feels great. You only get one after winning against a boss. However like the Mega Man series, you have some options when choosing which fight to take on next. So after the start, you can choose between Dacite’s Volcano Block and Vespa’s Jungle Block. And since Dacite is weak against the Whirling Chopper EX you get from Vespa, fighting her first can be a pretty good idea! Which means when you do head to the Volcano, you’ll feel even better when Copen really tears into the boss.
The result is a game that really shows how Copen (and Lola) stand out. Throughout every stage, you’re reminded of how powerful he is. And when you come across a new boss or opponent who might be a bit intimidating, you know you potentially have the opportunities to handle things the right way. The EX Weapons are there to help get you through. And even if you are having trouble, Lola’s healing powers can help someone push through.
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 is available for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.